Paris taxi drivers, who have long battled against Uber, have now declared war on Estonian start-up Taxify, blocking its recruitment offices in protest at its “aggressive” arrival in Paris. Taxify decided to set up shop in Paris after its London launch failed miserably: the company had no licence to operate in the British capital.
Taxi unions have staged repeated demonstrations against Uber as debate rages in France over labour conditions for its drivers, who are mostly self-employed contractors with no job security. Taxify, another app which started operations in the French capital last week, has vowed to undercut market leader Uber with backing from Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxin.
The FO-Capa VTC union said dozens of taxi drivers blocked Taxify’s Paris recruitment offices on Monday afternoon. “They have arrived in a shameful, aggressive manner,” said union spokesman Helmi Mamlouk. “We do not approve of them busting market prices, which are already pitiable.”
The union notably opposes Taxify’s offer of half-price rides in October, fearing it will take away business, according to a source close to Taxify’s management. Available in 19 countries in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Africa, Taxify operates like Uber via a smartphone app, allowing users to book rides and pay for them without using cash.
But the company says it will take only 15 percent commission from drivers, compared to Uber’s 25 percent, and will price the rides 10 percent below the American giant. “Paris is essentially dominated by one American company,” Taxify’s 23-year-old CEO Markus Villig told AFP last week. “We want to prove that European companies can also come in and gain a significant market share and show some competition,” said Villig, who founded Taxify when he was a 19-year old student.
- Paris taxi drivers declared war on Taxify.